Oracle Acquires Grapeshot to Help Advertisers With Brand Safety Issues

Company promises to 'close the loop' on measurement

The acquisition comes at a time of uncertainty for the ad-tech space, with GDPR starting next month. Getty Images
Headshot of Marty Swant

Oracle has acquired British marketing technology firm Grapeshot, which touts the ability to help brands contextualize ad placements before making automated bids, keeping them away from unsafe content.

Oracle, which announced the acquisition today without disclosing a price, said that Grapeshot already works with more than 5,000 marketers, processing 38 billion programmatic ad impressions each month. The company added that the purchase also helps “close the loop” on measurement through Moat, which Oracle acquired exactly a year ago this month.

“The acquisition of Grapeshot will dramatically expand Oracle Data Cloud’s ability to improve marketing outcomes for our partners worldwide by adding the important dimension of context to Oracle Data Cloud’s expertise in audiences and measurement,” the company said in a prepared statement.

The news comes as the digital media landscape enters its 2018 NewFronts season, where brand safety will likely continue to be a hot topic as companies like YouTube and Twitter pitch their offerings to advertisers next week in New York City.

The acquisition also comes at a time of uncertainty for the ad-tech space. Next month, the European Union will start enforcing its new General Data Protection Regulations that aim to help protecting users from marketers and platforms seeking to collect and use their personal online information without proper disclosure.

According to Oracle, Grapeshot will also allow the company to extend its global reach by placing ads on relevant contexts including “late-breaking news and trending themes.”

Tech companies like YouTube and Facebook continue to grapple with clearing their platforms of violent and obscene content. As recently as last week, a CNN investigation uncovered ads from hundreds of companies on YouTube channels promoting white nationalism, conspiracies theories and pedophilia.

While the companies say human moderation and artificial intelligence have been able to identify and remove content from terrorism groups and others, members of Congress seem wary of the companies’ ability to regulate themselves.

“Policies aren’t worth the paper they’re written on if Facebook doesn’t enforce them,” U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., told Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during his two-day hearing on Capitol Hill earlier this month.

@martyswant Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.